Yesterday I spend the day with 40+ other TED enthusiasts at Monash Uni watching and discussing TED videos. We believe it was the first independent TED event in the world. Lot’s of interesting people there including presentation guru, Les Posen, who has just returned from MacWorld after giving a two-day workshop on a cognitive perspective on using Keynote, and Stuart French, who told a gruesome story of murder in his backyard. There was also my new Jelly co-working colleagues Susan, Pieter, Sjors and Jason. Sjors had a big hand in organising the event. Great job!
Most of the day was spent watching the videos and chatting about them in small and large groups. It was great for sparking new ideas. There was one live speaker, Dr Ninian Peckitt, who told us about how he rebuilds people’s faces using manufactured implants made from titanium. This talk was fascinating if not a little gruesome. Not for the faint hearted. Amazingly there are strong political forces against manufactured implants because they are less expensive and surgeons don’t make as much income from using them. Major face surgery that would normally cost $80,000 can be done for $40,000 using Ninian’s approach.
Here are the videos we watched:
- Do schools kill creativity by Ken Robinson
- Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy? by Dan Gilbert
- My stroke of insight by Jill Bolte Taylor
- How ordinary people become monsters … or heroes by Philip Zimbardo
- A 3-minute story of mixed emoticons by Rives
- Our priorities for saving the world by Bjorn Lomborg
- The art of collecting stories by Jonathan Harris
- Sliced bread and other marketing delights by Seth Godin
- The mystery box by JJ Abrams
- Why we age and how we can avoid it? by Aubrey de Grey
The video that had the most impact for me was Phil Zimbardo’s talk about the Stanford Prison experiment. In particular I liked the point that more often than not it’s not the bad apple that’s the problem, it’s the bad barrel. This got me thinking about why we often go after the bad apple. Perhaps it’s because our major sensemaking device is our ability to tell ourselves stories and the most compelling stories are about individuals. At lunch Jason made the point that perhaps groups are represented in stories by archetypes or gods so that the story remains compelling. This idea has lots of ramifications for blame, scapegoats, performance appraisals etc.
Just a word of warning on the Zimbardo video. It contains many pictures of the Abu Ghraib tragedy, which are shocking.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: